It's smelling a whole lot better near the Berkeley County landfill.

Residents are already noticing a difference after the county took the steps required by state health officials to get rid of the stench.

County officials announced Wednesday that its water and sanitation department finished installing a gas pipe system, the last of several steps required by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to deal with the odor problem at the landfill off U.S. Highway 52. 

The county met DHEC's deadline of implementing recommendations by Feb. 16. County officials hope the efforts will provide a long-term solution, and they will continue to monitor the situation.

"It was, 100 percent, a top priority," said County Councilman Tommy Newell.

The pipe installation comes after engineering consultants surveyed the landfill last month and drew gas samples, which revealed the presence of hydrogen sulfide, the gas that causes the rotten egg odor that has hung over the property.

In addition to the pipes, engineers offered other measures to eliminate the smell, including covering the area where the odor was the strongest with dirt and installing a carbon scrubber to remove the gas.

Officials said the air was noticeably better after the scrubber was installed Feb. 8, adding that they have received very few complaints following the installation.

Many residents who previously complained that the foul odor was trapped inside their homes and cars said they haven't noticed it recently.

"I don’t want to speak too soon but I hope it'll continue to be this way so we can enjoy our neighborhood," said Foxbank resident Ayeshia Smith.

Officials have worked to eliminate the landfill smell that they said became worse after the area saw more than 11 inches of rain in December. Officials said the moisture led to the breakdown of gypsum board, resulting in the release of a gas that put off the rotten egg odor.

Before the engineers' report, the county installed meters in and around the site to detect hydrogen sulfide, and BCWS employees also walked the adjacent Foxbank neighborhood with meters. The county released pictures weeks ago of the landfill that showed its efforts to work on the smell.

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Rickey Dennis covers North Charleston and faith & values for the Post and Courier.

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